Isro pushes Chandrayaan-2 launch to mid-April

Isro chairman K Sivan told the media on Friday that the next available slot is during March-April, and the launch could take place by mid-April. However, if this window is passed, the prestigious mission will have to be pushed again to June. (DH File Photo)

India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, will now be launched only in the middle of April this year. The launch date had to be pushed from the initially scheduled January-February window, as a few related tests could not be completed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

Isro chairman K Sivan told the media on Friday that the next available slot is during March-April, and the launch could take place by mid-April. However, if this window is passed, the prestigious mission will have to be pushed again to June.

Chandrayaan-2 had missed two planned launch windows in 2017 and 2018. It was expected that the mission would be launched anytime between the first week of January and February 16. Sivan explained that Isro was busy with many other launches during the second half of last year, and this affected the moon mission schedules.

Under the new mission to be launched by a GSLV Mk III, a Lander will make a soft-landing on the moon surface. A wheeled Rover will then be unloaded to analyse on-site chemicals on the lunar surface and take measurements. The data will be relayed to Earth through an Orbiter, which will piggyback on the same launch.

The mission has also been reconfigured with a new strategy. The Lander will now go around the moon in an elliptical orbit before touching down on the lunar surface.

Although China sparked a sensation by landing a craft on the dark side of the moon, Sivan asserted India was in no way behind the Chinese. “We will land the Chandrayaan-2 near the lunar South pole. No one has gone there. Others have landed close to the equatorial region. We will also create history by going to the pole,” he explained.

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Isro pushes Chandrayaan-2 launch to mid-April

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